Written by His Grace,
Penned by: Kevin K. O’Connor
Date Penned: Dec. 30, 2004
Main thought: To examine the greatest New Year of all
Out with the old and in with the New
Matthew 9:17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Matthew 9:16-18 (in Context) Matthew 9 (Whole Chapter)
Here we are at the conclusion of another year of this life being 2004. And as good or as bad as this year may have been, we need to learn to let it go and live today for the future and not the past. There are those who would have us live today for today with no regards to tomorrow. But, the happiest people in this life and those who are able to recover from great sorrow and suffering are those who are not living for yesterday or even today, but are those who have their hearts and eyes fixed upon the One who called them into existence and who by His Grace will bring them home. Look at the Apostle Paul whose life here below gave him no reason to rejoice at the coming of a New Year BUT, his eyes were fixed on the New Life with Christ for all of eternity. Let’s look at what Paul’s life had to deal with; 2 Corinthians 11:23-30 I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. What could possibly give Paul the drive to keep going against such adversity?, His Focus!; Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:12-14 (in Context) Philippians 3 (Whole Chapter)
Oh that we would get our eyes off of our own sorrow and suffering and put them on the One who suffered all things for us; Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-3 (in Context) Hebrews 12 (Whole Chapter) Each and everyone of us can go from just being a passenger and riding along in the boat of this life trying to ride out the storms that come our way, or be an Overcomer like Peter who took his eyes off of the storm and placed them on the Author of Life and walked over the storm. We all are only human like Peter who let his eyes drift, but God is quick to help those who cry out to Him for His deliverance; 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-10 (in Context) 1 John 1 (Whole Chapter)
There are those who just try harder when the storms rage around them and yet the victory is not within our abilities to fight but in our abilities to resign our pride and inabilities to the One (Jesus) who has all power over all things; Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV) 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And, while God expects us to have hearts that are tender and are willing to yield our wills to His, He also desires hearts that are hungry to be more than conquerors; Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:15-17 (in Context) Matthew 10 (Whole Chapter) His heart is searching for those who hunger for more than the status quo. He’s looking for those who realize that we were made for more than eating, living, and dying. He is actively looking for those hearts that are willing to press in beyond their pride and unbelief into the beauty of Who His Son is. These are the ones who will grow into the nature of Christ who are more than mere spectators but are doers; James 1:21&22 [ Doers--Not Hearers Only ] 21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. James 1:21-23 (in Context) James 1 (Whole Chapter) Here again, notice the tenderness of how our hearts should be to Him “receive with meekness the implanted word” and yet the toughness of how our hearts should be to walk with Him “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” In other words our hearts should be like leather, supple in the hands of God, yet tough to the things of this world.
Listen to God’s heart in these following scriptures of how He is coming back not for those who are being overcome by this world, but those who by His grace are overcoming this world; Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Revelation 2:6-8 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)
Revelation 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. Revelation 2:10-12 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)
Revelation 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Revelation 2:16-18 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)
Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. Revelation 3:4-6 (in Context) Revelation 3 (Whole Chapter)
Revelation 3:12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. Revelation 3:11-13 (in Context) Revelation 3 (Whole Chapter)
Revelation 3:21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:20-22 (in Context) Revelation 3 (Whole Chapter)
This life is filled with those willing to let others tell them how and where to live, then there are those who blaze the trail of faith in Christ. These are the ones not looking at or living for the things of this life that are here and gone but are those whose hearts and focus are fixed upon the One Who holds the keys of death, hell and the grave; Revelation 1:18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 1:17-19 (in Context) Revelation 1 (Whole Chapter)
So, as this year of 2004 gives way to the new one, let our hearts take hold of Christ and let Him whose Faith rose above His trials and tribulations take hold of us. Revelation 2:11 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."' Revelation 2:10-12 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter)
There is coming a day of celebration for every heart in Christ and it’s not in the coming of a New Year within this world, it’s coming at the appearing of Christ to rule and reign.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for Jesus!, our Hope in this hopeless world. Teach us how to ever press nearer and nearer to Him. In Jesus Glorious, Wonderful Name, Amen
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